On A Roll - Mark Johnson

I haven’t fished Ashmire since early summer last year. So, because my ticket was due to run out in March, I felt It was worth going back to see if I could finish what I started.

I managed to winkle out a few good fish through the summer months, but there was still the one I really wanted to catch, a fish called Marmalade. It’s a very rare visitor to the bank, slipping up once or twice a year, if you’re lucky.

I started on January 2nd, still feeling the effects of New Years Eve. I rocked up at the lake to find it empty. So, I jumped into the Gate Double, a swim I knew like the back of my hand and has good winter form.

After a quick lead about, I found a deeper area with a small pocket of silt, which felt like a prime spot and a good starting point. I decided to put two rods in the silt and one rod off a small island, fishing just off the shelf. I trickled in a couple of kilos of bait over the area and just a few handfuls over the island rod. So with all my rods sorted, I sat with the kettle on watching the water on a pleasant January evening. It felt fairly mild for the time of year and I was really confident of some action.

Ron the owner, popped over for a cuppa and informed me the lake hadn’t done a fish for six weeks, other than one mid-double. With this in mind, I remained optimistic and drifted off to sleep hopeful. At midnight I had a steady take over the silt area, which resulted in a lovely 20lb 12oz mirror.

I sat there the following morning, getting ready for a slow pack up, when suddenly the same rod burst into action. That resulted in a 20lb 4oz common and a cracking fish too. I was over the moon, two fish on my first night back; I couldn’t wait to get back down.

After my previous session, I was still on a high and really couldn’t wait to get the rods back out. I’d been visiting the lake between session just trickling in the bait and keeping an eye on things.

My next session turned out to be even better, resulting in three fish. The pick of the trio was a belting mirror at 30lb 12oz; it was one of the originals in Ashmire.
After the result over the two sessions I felt really confident and I was onto something. So, like the weeks previous I baited the same areas, prepped and ready for my next session.

On arrival the weather was perfect with low pressure and southwesterly winds, it really did look good for some action. I placed the rods on the same areas and it wasn’t long before I was into one. The small silty area produced the goods again with another 20lb mirror; it took me by surprise as the bite was completely out the blue and at a different time to the other fish. Things really did look good some early morning action; right on time the same rod was away again, this time it felt like a good fish. A solid resistance soon as I lifted into it, I could instantly tell it was a better fish, plodding in the margins and staying really deep. Finally it was mine, when I looked down into the net it wasn’t one I recognized, but looked like another thirty. It just scrapped it, weighing in at 30lb 10oz, what a result! And to top it off, the next day in the afternoon I had a lovely 27lb 5oz leathery mirror, looking beautiful winter colours.

Over the next few weeks I kept plugging away on Ashmire and thankfully the weather was kind to me and so was the fishing. I kept catching on every visit to the lake, the pick of the bunch was a stunning linear at 32lb 15oz and my first 30lb common of the year, at 32lb 2oz. Again, and the small pocket of silt did the business and kept producing the goods.

As I’m sat writing this, the van’s loaded, and I still have three weeks left on my ticket, so fingers crossed there’s more to come.
Be Lucky, Mark Johnson